In mid-March 2020, as the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the United States, the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) informed its members that its annual conference in Denver, Colorado, was cancelled. As the uncertainties of the global pandemic continued into July, the organizing committee of the conference made the difficult decision to hold the 2021 SCMS Conference fully online. It did so, on the one hand, in response to ongoing concerns about health and safety, as well as international travel restrictions, stay-at-home orders, university spending freezes, and other constraints. On the other hand, 2021 marked the first-ever SCMS Virtual Conference, and should be viewed as a significant milestone, especially given that the Society had long resisted requests to add an online component.

The following, then, is not a nostalgic lament for the embodied conferences...

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